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Whitfield gives Canada double triathlon gold

04 August 2002

Simon Whitfield (CAN), who shot to prominence two years ago when triathlon made its Olympic debut in Sydney, completed a memorable double on Sunday when he became the sport’s first Commonwealth champion.


Simon Whitfield takes Canada's second triathlon gold

In a thrilling race, Whitfield, 27, bided his time before destroying the field on the run to win in 1:51:57 ahead of Miles Stewart (AUS). Hamish Carter (NZL) - who finished third at the 1993 World Championships in Manchester – had to settle for bronze.

A lead group of 11 swimmers gradually pulled away from the rest of the 35-man field on lap two of the 1500m swim, led by Carter and Stuart Hayes (ENG).

Hayes was first out of the water, in 18:01.3, closely followed by five-time world champion Simon Lessing (ENG) and Carter.

In drying conditions, a large pack of 12 riders formed on lap one of the four-lap, 41.5km cycle with all the major contenders jostling for position, including Whitfield and Peter Robertson (AUS), the reigning world champion.

Midway through lap two, the first serious breakaway occurred when Hayes opened a 30m gap on the main group. Bike specialist Chris McCormack (AUS) was quick to join him and the two riders worked together to consolidate their lead as the rain began to fall.

The gap steadily increased over the remaining two laps and had grown to over 60 seconds by the time McCormack and Hayes entered transition two to begin the final 10km run.

McCormack, who won the world title in Perth in 1997, eased away from Hayes on lap one of the run as Whitfield set off in determined pursuit of the leading pair.

By the end of the first lap, Whitfield had remarkably already overtaken a fading Hayes to move into the silver medal position, continuing to close in on McCormack who was now just 20 seconds ahead.

The Olympic champion moved level with McCormack towards the end of lap two, overtaking and pulling away as he began the final circuit.

Attention turned to the battle for silver and bronze as Carter, Stewart and then Lessing moved past McCormack. Stewart eventually sealed the silver medal, out sprinting Carter to the line.

Info News Service/rb/jdc

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